Ministers attending the event pose for a joint photo. (Source: VNA)

Vientiane (VNA) – The fifth consultation between economic chiefs of the ten ASEAN member countries and Russia took place in Vientiane, Laos on August 5 under the co-chair of Lao Minister of Industry and Trade Khemmany Pholsena and Russian Minister of Economic Development Alexey V.Uliukaev.

Addressing the event, the Russian minister hailed the formation of the ASEAN Economic Community at the end of 2015, holding that it will help speed up the regional integration process and make ASEAN a more dynamic and competitive area.

Russia is currently the eighth largest trade partner of ASEAN, with two-way trade hitting 13.4 billion USD in 2015, accounting for 0.6 percent of total ASEAN trade value, they noted.

During the event, which was held within the ongoing 48 th ASEAN Economic Ministers’ Meeting, ministers expressed their pleasure at the success of the ASEAN-Russia Summit in Russia’s Sochi city in May this year to mark the 20 th anniversary of the ASEAN-Russia dialogue partnership.

They recognised the efforts by leaders of both sides in drawing orientations for future cooperation between ASEAN and Russia in trade, investment, finance, e-commerce, transportation, energy, agriculture and maritime economy, including the settlement of illegal, unnoticed and uncontrolled fishing.

They asked senior economic officials from both sides to continue discussing Russia’s proposal to set up the ASEAN-Russia Economic Partnership in Connectivity, while taking note of Russia’s suggestion to conduct joint feasibility research on the establishment of a free trade area between ASEAN and the Eurasian Economic Union.

Ministers said they were pleased with the implementation of activities within the post-2015 ASEAN-Russia Investment and Trade Cooperation Programme’s framework, which included consultations among senior economic officials of ASEAN and Russia, as well as the approval of the ASEAN-Russia Programme of Action on Agriculture and Food Security Cooperation for the 2016-2020 period, the ASEAN-Russia Programme of Action on Science, Technology and Innovation, and the ASEAN-Russia Energy Cooperation Plan for the 2016-2020 period.

The ministers also voiced hope that the launching of the plans and programmes will help foster bilateral economic ties between the two sides.

They lauded the strengthening of ASEAN-Russia partnering in e-commerce as well as the post-2015 investment and trade partnership programme between the two sides, which they said will contribute to the sustainable growth of both sides and bolstered their economic ties.

They assigned senior economic officials to continue seeking feasible cooperation possibilities for common benefit.-VNA